So it’s getting close to Christmas and I’ve been looking around at the different marketing messages I’m seeing.  Here’s a few observations.

Be Prepared

All the major retailers prepare for Christmas months in advance.  In your business, how far ahead do you plan?  There are probably events or dates that are busy times in your business.  What can you begin doing now, to ensure you make the most of those times when they happen?

To Discount or Not

Of course, many of the retailers have their % off sales – 20% off toys, clothes etc.  In a service business, I’m not convinced that discounting is the way to go. 

Something I’m seeing more retailers doing this year is offering gift cards instead of discounts i.e. spend over $100 now, and we’ll give you a $20 gift card to use in the future.  Is this the same as a 20% discount? No!  You see, if they give you an extra $20 to spend in the future, they know you’re more likely to spend more than just that $20.  You might find a shirt you like for $50, and buy it using the $20 gift card.  You feel like you’ve got a bargain, and the store is happy because you just returned to their store and spent another $30.

What’s the equivalent in your business?  What can you offer that isn’t a discount but still represents good value to your clients?

When An Offer Sounds Great

There’s a women’s health club I drive past on my way to work.  Every year in December they put out a sign that says “Join now – free for rest of year”.  The first time you read it you get excited, then you realise it really doesn’t amount to much, especially later in December.

What the gym knows is that if it gives away the service initially, the new members get locked in to the gym routine, and see the value in it.  Come January 1st, most will join for the full year.

In your business, are there things you can give away with the confidence they’ll lead to more revenue in the future?

Christmas Cards

Finally, how do you feel about Christmas cards? At home we’ve received a Christmas card from the real estate firm that sold our old home.  The agent we dealt with has long gone, and we don’t know the people who sent the card.  They’re doing what they feel is the right thing by staying in touch.

In our business, we try to stay in touch with our clients regularly, and we send them Christmas cards each year.  My wife and I had a discussion about this today.  When you receive a Christmas card from a business, do you appreciate it or wish they wouldn’t send it?  I’ve no doubt that a number of our clients love receiving their cards.  But there would be others who wouldn’t care if we never sent them another Christmas card.  What do you think?